Although it has changed
somewhat in recent years, Monaco still mostly follows the original circuit.
As a teenager I studied photos of the place in magazines and books, particularly Motor Racing Circuits of Europe, by Klemantaski and Frostick and when I went there in 1966 as a mechanic on the first McLaren F1 car, the M2B (and the first ever Grand Prix for the McLaren team) it looked totally familiar. It was almost a time-warp, just as it had been when ‘Williams’, or William Grover, won the first ever Monaco Grand Prix in 1929, driving a Bugatti.
I next went there in 1969, by now racing in Formula Three, and it still seemed almost the same, apart from a few pieces of Armco. Back again in 1971, by now in Formula One with BRM, the only changes I noticed was a bit more Armco, mostly to stop cars falling into the harbour.
It was not until 1973 that we arrived to find a revised circuit, around the swimming pool, and along to Rascasse. I definitely preferred it. The old Promenade straight (curved) was now the pit lane, a much safer place than the open area at the side of the straight as had been the case since 1929. In later years there have been a few very minor alterations, some areas have been made more open and the tunnel has become very much longer. Valuable real estate has been created over the track.
Whatever changes have been made it is still one of the greatest circuits in the world. Long may it continue.
March 701-1, Roger Wills car at Monaco
Roger Wills at Monaco